Music Teaching Techniques


“… ask in faith for revelation to know what you are to do.  With your call comes the promise that answers will come”

—President Henry B. Eyring, “Rise to Your Call,” general conference, Oct. 2002

Prelude Ideas

AH, HUM, OOWrite “AH,” “HUM” and “OO” on separate papers. Pick three children to hold up the signs. When other children enter the room, have sign holders take turns showing how to sing along with the music, whether “AH,” “HUM” or “OO.”
Begin learning a new songInvite the children to begin learning the melody of a new song by listening to it or humming it during the prelude time.
Create a reverent atmosphereHave prelude music playing as the children enter the Primary room. Involve children by asking them to play Primary songs on the piano, woodwind or string instruments as part of the prelude or postlude.
Involve the childrenHelp children participate in prelude music by having each child join in singing as they enter the Primary room.

Inviting Reverence

Select appropriate techniqueChoose a technique that is appropriate to convey both the message and spirit of the song. For instance, songs about sacred topics should be taught with respect and reverence.
Listen and fold armsListen to my voice and do as I say . . . Put your finger on your nose. . . head . . . knee. Then whisper fold your arms if you can hear my voice.”
Watch and sing softlyWatch as I raise my hands high. Now, watch when I lower my hands and sing the song more quietly and slowly.” OR: Hold your hands apart in front of you and invite the children to watch as you sing. The closer you move your hands together, the softer they should sing.
Wiggle songUse an activity song to help get out wiggles. For example, sing “Give Said the Little Stream.” Have the children stand on the “S” words and clap on the “G” words. Finish with a quiet request for everyone to sit and fold their arms.

Teaching a Song

Add actionsInvite the children to think of actions to go with one line of the song. Then sing and do the actions together.
Divide into groupsDivide into two groups and have one group sing only the first two words of each phrase and have the other group complete the phrase. Change groups and repeat. You can divide the groups in many ways: boys/girls, by colors on clothes, color of eyes, birthdays in the first and second part of the year, etc.
Fill in the blankSing a song and leave out three important words. Ask the children to tell you the missing words. Talk about the meaning of the words.
Stick FiguresDraw the song in stick figures on the board as you sing.
Question PowerDivide into groups, one group singing the song while the other group comes up with a question that is answered in the song. Write questions on the board that can be answered as the children sing the song.
Key Words
Write key words from the song on different pieces of paper. When one paper is held up, the children do not sing that word. Or, each time you sing through a song, ask the children to listen for key words, rhyming words, or repeated words.
Questions and AnswersIntroduce each phrase of a song by having children listen for the answer to a question while you sing the phrase to them. OR, have the children stand when they sing the questions in a song and sit when they sing the answers.
Repeat in a variety of waysRepetition helps the children learn new songs. Repeat songs in a variety of ways, such as whispering, humming, clapping the beat, varying the tempo, or singing while sitting and standing.
Reverent FeetReverently march or walk to the rhythm or tempo of a song. Stand on one foot for one phrase and the other foot for the next phrase.
Sequence Pictures and WordstripsChoose pictures that represent phrases of the song or make wordstrips of each phrase of the song. Display them in the wrong order or creatively place them around the room and have children put them in order as they sing the song several times.

Reviewing a Song

Hot and coldHave a child leave the room and another child hide an object. As the child re-enters the room have the children begin to sing. The closer the searcher gets to the object the louder the children sing. The farther he is from the object the softer they sing, or have them stand and sit.
Guessing bagPut objects that represent the words in a song in a bag. Have a child choose one object out of the bag. Ask the child what the object represents in the song. Have the children who have chosen the objects stand in the correct order of the words in the song.
Bean Bag TossInvite a child to toss a beanbag or crumpled piece of paper into a basket. If they make it on the first try, have the children sing the verse once; if it takes two tries, have them sing it twice, and so on.
Pass an objectPass an object and sing until the pianist stops playing; then the child holding the object has to say the next word in the song or answer a question that reinforces the message of the song.
Different singing stylesMake a cube out of paper or cardboard. On each side of the cube write a different way to sing (clap the melody, do hand actions, boys sing, girls sing, hum the melody, sing softly, boys lip-sync while girls sing, girls lip-sync while boys sing, etc.). Invite a child to roll the cube to decide how they will review the song.
Children's favoritesGive each child a paper heart. Ask them to write their favorite Primary song and their name on it. Put them in a container. Choose a few to sing. Tell the children that Primary songs can be a source of comfort, guidance and inspiration and that we can sing them almost anytime, anywhere.
DrawDraw pictures that represent the words in a song to help the children picture the words in their minds. The children could also help you draw the pictures.
First letterWrite the first letter of each word of a phrase from a song to help the children remember the words or to guess the song.

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